If you’ve stopped by our workshop or have been in touch over the past few months, you were probably greeted by a new face, Jake. He's the new guy in the Feldon workshop (well not so new now, he's been with up for over half a year now) and has spent a good chunk of last year going hard building up his freshly imported Troopy. For us, having a workshop team that are passionate about getting out there has always been important for us... And as you can see by the adventure below, Jake & his talented partner Emma fit in perfectly.
Here's their view from a recent trip around the East Cape:
Someone once told me that if you want to see the true meaning of ‘real New Zealand’, head to the East Coast. From the forested peaks of the Te Ureweras, the endless high country roads of the Eastland backbone, to the great expanse and endless horizons of the pacific ocean; the East Cape is one of the last great pieces of remote and untouched New Zealand.
Our trip was mostly unplanned. We had a vague idea of where we wanted to be each day, but we have a lot of trust in the road to guide us to unexpected places. When we got word that the Feldon landy was heading our way we hoped to meet them somewhere along the cape. A rough idea of where we may cross paths on our separate journeys was discussed but the lack of service meant it was pretty tricky to set any plans in stone.
With the talk of the surf being “very-on” up the coast, we battled through patchy reception and pieced together a plan to meet our friends at the dairy in Hicks bay, the only store in town. With Beth, Joel, Adam and Seb heading east, Jake and I made our way north from Mahia, arriving in Te Araroa just in time to catch sun down.
After a long day of driving for all, we decided to find a place to set up for the night. After tossing up a few options around the coast we thought it would be an idea to check out one of the rivers which Jake had eyed up early that morning. With Jake and I, it always a battle between turning east to the coast or west to the forest. That evening, Jake won and we all headed off up the river. After attempting a few times to get the trucks under a very low lying bridge we resorted to heading down river to find a spot we could call ours for the night.
The east cape is such a vast and open space, full of spots here and there which you can have all to your own. The rivers create an idyllic and peaceful place to set up and be undisturbed by anyone. The river beds around the Cape in summer are an ideal spot to escape the crowds and enjoy a fresh dip. At that time of the year the water levels are low and the river beds are wide meaning shallow crossings and lots of dry patches to set up for the day or night.
The early bird catches the worm they say, so after good night's sleep and a brief moment taking it all in, we quickly packed up and headed back to the coast in search of a wave. The high cliff roads provide many great outlooks to spot a bit of movement, and rounding the corner into Te Araroa is no exception, the view down the coast is like no other and so we decided to venture on into the lowlands and again another river in hopes it would lead us straight onto the beach. A couple of hours and a few rescue missions later we made the 800m leg only to realise the tide had turned and the wave had turned with it.
Having spent most of the day taking the long (but far more scenic) route we decided it was time to hike it back up the main road to Onepoto beach for a cool off. It may not look it on a map but its relatively easy and quick to get around the cape, it doesn’t take long to get a change of scenery.
When you’re on the road the daily question is ‘where to next, and where are we going to camp tonight?’ For someone like me who can get a bit anxious when it comes to finding a suitable spot, this can be quite a stressful process, Jake on the other hand isn’t phased by the idea of it being 9pm with no where to stay. Luckily the East Cape is an area we have explored a few times now, so a familiar space is only ever a stone's throw away.
We decided to pass on the busy freedom camping site and checked out a spot in a bay just a short distance from the famous East Cape lighthouse. Seb seemed to like it so we unfolded and claimed it for ourselves.
With the sun setting behind us, and a fire at our toes we were content. Time really does slow on the Cape.
If our trip around the Cape has you already scratching to plan your own, the we have some good news. Over the new few weeks we will be compiling a list of tips on how best to tackle the East! Where to go, what to bring & other handy bits of info that helped us make this trip so magic. So keep an keen eye on the blog, they'll be coming soon!
Photos & words by the talented Emma Orchard.